Come with us to Premià de Mar, a small coastal town 15 miles north of Barcelona, Spain, to meet one of Acclaro’s veteran translators, David. This multilingual dynamo is fluent in Spanish, Catalan, English and German. Let’s learn more about him!
A Perfect Career Path
David’s interest in translation grew out of a youthful fascination with an uncle, who worked as a translator during his exile in Mexico.
“He would translate books from French into Spanish and would mail them back to my family in Barcelona,” David explained. “That sparked my interest in the profession, and, combined with my early interest in languages and literature, made it the perfect career path.”
When it came time for university, it was only natural that David studied languages, earning a degree in translation and interpretation in English and German. He later acquired a degree in legal and administrative translation in English, Spanish and Catalan, along with a certificate of proficiency in English.
To pay his way through school, David worked as a janitor in a bleach factory. His day started at 6 a.m., so he could clean it – an irony not lost on him – before the other employees arrived.
“It was a tough job,” he said. “But, I managed to pay off my university education and realized how important it was to study.”
After completing his degree, David began teaching Spanish and Catalan at the University of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom. Several years later, he became a translator for a Boston-based company and lived in the U.S. for almost six years.
A Challenging Profession
Now a seasoned professional with nearly 30 years of experience, David recognizes that his career is responsible for him being up to date on the latest innovations in global industry.
“One of the many great things about this profession is I get to learn about a wide variety of subjects while translating,” David said. “Translating gives me the chance to be a jack of all trades, master of none.”
“It’s been mesmerizing to see how the translation industry has evolved throughout my career,” he shared. “Every day is unique and different.”
Translating Means Learning and Evolving
With any job, it’s important to find passion in the day-to-day activities, and this is especially true with translation.
“It’s not always easy, but a good translator always respects the profession and is willing to learn and evolve,” mentioned David. “Moreover, you have to be open minded and ready for feedback.”
These are skills David learned early on during his first job as an interpreter where he covered a three-day seminar with 35 priests from across Europe. Although he had studied at a Catholic school, he wasn’t closely familiar with the Church’s hierarchy. The Bishop of Huesca gave the keynote address and was the first speaker David interpreted.
“The bishop introduced himself, and instead of calling him ‘monsignor,’ I just called him ‘mister,’” he remembered. “At that moment, the horrified faces of those 35 priests turned to me, because I had unknowingly put the bishop in the same category as a simple mortal!
Once the session was over, everyone told me they found it very funny.”
This sense of humor and openness to feedback has served David well. He recounts another situation that still brings a smile to his face. Years ago, he worked with a Japanese project manager who addressed emails to the “Spinach Department” instead of the “Spanish Department.”
“Twenty-five years later, one of my best friends, who at the time was working with me, still greets me by saying, ‘How are things at the Spinach Department?’,” David laughed.
The Perks of Being a Translator
One of the things David appreciates about the translation profession is the flexibility. Since the pandemic began, David has been working from home, which has allowed him ample opportunities to spend time at the beach near his home and enjoy his two passions: football and theater.
“A few years back I joined an amateur theater group here in Premià where I’ve taken part in many different shows,” David shared. “Theater is a wonderful activity that has helped me express myself better.
Maybe in my next job, I’ll become an actor!